Downtown Livability

What’s Happening:

A number of issues such as fires, vacant properties, the COVID-19 pandemic, and increased homelessness have impacted livability in New Westminster's downtown.  

The City of New Westminster is taking a compassionate approach and has an interdepartmental team working to accomplish these actions. External stakeholders on the Business and Local Economy Task Force and the At-Risk and Vulnerable Populations Task Force are also being consulted.

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In September 2021, Council passed a motion to support livability, called the Downtown Recovery Strategy. You can read the full motion, here.

The City has developed a strategy that includes immediate and short term actions, endorsed by Council in October 2021. Read the report, here.

Longer term actions are undergoing analysis and future updates will provide additional information.

Areas of Focus:

There are five areas of focus for the immediate and short term actions. 

  1. Cleanliness and 24-hour public toilets
  2. Homeless outreach and added emergency shelter capacity
  3. Opioid epidemic and illicit drug response
  4. Business support and engagement
  5. Work with Fraser Health to address mental health issues

For More Information:

To address specific items such as graffiti and garbage, you can familiarize yourself with the Nuisance Activity Reporting and Resource Guide at

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January 2022 Summary Update (PDF)

November 2021 Summary Update (PDF)

Ongoing, Completed, or In-Progress Items: 

  • Larger garbage receptacles and increased collection frequency
  • Specialized waste management contractor hired
  • Portable toilet placed in HyackSquare, with robust maintenance plan
  • Communication material and process developed for businesses and residents
  • Active outreach to impacted businesses and associations
  • Interdepartmental team that works directly with street entrenched and vulnerable people has been established and City staff training underway
  • Second Vulnerable Persons Liaison Officer has been assigned by NWPD
  • Two homeless support outreach workers have been funded by the City
  • New Extreme Weather Shelter is now operational with 50 beds
  • Fire and Police are working with service providers and government organizations to develop programs that support the opioid crisis
  • Educational opportunities are being developed in conjunction with Purpose Society, NWPD, and the BIA on topics such as homelessness, overdose and opioid education, crime prevention, etc.

Medium Term Actions In Progress: 

  • Develop a work plan to reduce timelines for building permit applications and business licence applications that require building permits
  • Sidewalk Café Bylaw (1997) revisions based on learning from temporary Patio Program
  • Streetscape improvements
  • Public washroom plan for new and existing permanent, accessible public washrooms
  • Analysis of New Westminster Redevelopment Act (1989)